ST. CLOUD -- This week is National Consumer Protection Week.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota are partnering to offer consumers advice on companies offering credit repair services.

The Department of Commerce regulates two types of credit repair services: credit service organizations and debt management companies.

Credit Service organizations offer education and personalized advice to consumers for a fee.

Here are some things to consider before choosing a credit repair firm:
-- Avoid offers of a quick debt reduction or debt settlement plan with high up-front fees
-- Beware of unrealistic promises
-- Work with a Minnesota licensee that has a local office with staff available to answer your questions
-- Research the company at